Charities fund research around the priorities from the IBD PSP

Published: 28 June 2019

Guts UK is a charity set up to increase the levels of research into diseases of the gut, liver and pancreas. Since 1971 Guts UK has funded almost 300 projects and invested £15 million pounds into medical research. Last year, in collaboration with forCrohns, Guts UK asked researchers to put forward proposals for research on Crohn’s disease that the two charities could fund, based on the research priorities identified by the JLA PSP in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

They awarded funding to help two researchers with their investigations into Crohn’s disease:

  • A liquid-only diet (without any of a patient’s normal food or drink) for 8 weeks is the best initial treatment for cases of Crohn’s Disease that are causing symptoms. However, this liquid-only diet is very restrictive and patients can find it difficult to stick to it for a long time, particularly if they are adults. Dr Konstantinos Gerasimidis and his collaborators have been awarded £49,416 and are studying the effects of a more acceptable solid food diet, which they hope will bring the same benefits for patients. Patients, carers and clinicians agreed that this was priority number 3 in the IBD Top 10.
  • The discovery of medicines that target specific chemicals associated with the gut inflammation that occurs in Crohn’s Disease has provided hope and relief to millions of affected people around the world. Unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t have a good way of telling which of these medicines will work best for each patient, so it is a priority to find predictive tests (called ‘biomarkers’) that will tell us what the ‘right medicine’ is for any individual patient. Dr Nick Powell’s team has been awarded £48,737 and is working on identifying these biomarkers. This area was priority number 2 in the IBD Top 10.

Julie Harrington, CEO of the Guts UK charity, said:

“JLA Priority Setting Partnerships are an excellent vehicle for bringing together patients, carers, researchers, clinicians and health care professionals to talk about what really matters most to the people affected. I say vehicle because it really does feel like all these folks get together on one bus to aim for the same destination. I have witnessed how the process of listening and sharing brings people with varying viewpoints and experiences of a disease area together. This brings a new focus and dynamic to answer the question ‘what do people affected by this condition really want to change first and foremost’. All good medical research should begin and end with the patient benefit as its aim. Just being robust scientifically is not enough. To carry on the bus analogy, we want to be heading for the motorway route to impact, not be stuck in a layby for a while, waiting. Getting the very best minds on the subject together – professionals and patients who are experts by experience - enables this wider vision and brings the required urgency too.”


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